It's About The Children, Stupid!
by James A. Landrith, Jr.
November 1, 1999
Recently, several high profile cases have brought the issues of transracial adoption back to the forefront of that greatest of American obsessions – RACE. For years, a debate has been raging in America about the high numbers of orphaned black children in state and private care and more specifically about whether whites should be allowed to adopt and love these children.
In 1994, President Clinton signed into law, the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA). This act was an extremely flawed liberal attempt at fooling the public into thinking that the cult that is race in America had been removed from the adoption process. Surprise, surprise. It wasn't. Not a bit. Not even a little, teeny, tiny bit. In fact, MEPA, as passed in 1994, made the practice of race-based matching of children to adoptive parents legal under certain circumstances and even provided a form of cover for those who wanted to continue practicing race-based matching. In 1996, Congress attempted to fix this problem by enacting a law prohibiting states or any organization receiving funds from the federal government from denying or delaying a child placement based on the race of the parties involved. In effect, it is now supposedly illegal to discriminate on the basis of race when placing children into adoptive homes. That doesn't stop those opposed to transracial adoption from finding new, more covert ways to discriminate.
The theory behind matching children to parents of the same race can be stated simply, "you can't prepare a minority child for the rigors of life in a white racist society unless you are of the same race as that child." Okey-dokey? Sounds reasonable enough, right? Only if you believe in the cultural competency myth that racistly stereotypes all blacks as having the same culture of music, religion, and politics and promote a cookie-cutter model of a true, government approved African-American identity. Sounds a bit too much like the possible futures described in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" or Ayn Rand's "Anthem" to me. It scares me to the libertarian core of my being.
Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy said it best in this paragraph from his September 15, 1998 testimony before the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Hearing on Interethnic Adoption:
"There are a variety of problems with this notion of cultural competency. For one thing, it puts officials in the position of attempting to prescribe "racial correctness." Fortunately, there exists no authoritative criterion by which to measure what sort of ideas or conduct can certifiably be deemed to be properly "black" (or "white" or "yellow" etc.). African Americans (like the individuals constituting all groups in American society) vary tremendously. Many like gospel music or rap. Many do not. Many celebrate Kwanza. many do not. Many live in predominately black neighborhoods. Some do not. Many are Christians. Many are Moslems. The idea that public or private child welfare officials would homogenize the varied African American community and then impose that homogenized stereotype upon white adults seeking to provide children with adoptive homes or foster care is a frightening prospect. Worse still is that this dubious concern with cultural competency is often nothing more than a pretext for racial matching, a way to continue the racial steering of needy children without expressly saying so."
Those behind the push for race-based matching like to use the cultural competency argument over and over again. They even use it against interracial couples attempting to adopt black children when one partner is white and the other black. They have no empirical data to back it up being necessary or even helpful. They like to say that black children adopted by white children have a tough time and never fully adjust to being a black person in America, that they are, in effect, damaged goods by association with white parents. Again, no empirical data to back that up either.
The National Association of Black Social Workers is the most vocal group opposed to transracial adoption. This hateful organization not only favors leaving black children in foster care indefinitely, rather than let them be adopted by loving non-black parents, but has also made disparaging comments about multiracial self-identification recently, invoking that favorite of racial separatists, the one-drop rule. On Friday, September 25, 1998, at Roosevelt University's conference entitled "Colorlines in the 21st Century: Multiracialism in a Racially Divided World", Johnny White, President, Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers stated that there is no such thing a biracial person in America. No such thing? How pray tell, does a white woman give birth to a black child? An Asian woman? A Native American woman? Here we are, back to the old magic blood theory again. This organization, the National Association of Black Social Workers, beloved by white liberal child welfare officials everywhere is no better than a common Klan organization in it's treatment of multiracial Americans. Apparently, racial discrimination is fine as long as it's levied at those "uppity mixies" who think they're better than black Americans as well as those horrible, horrible people who marry interracially in an attempt to breed black Americans out of existence. Give me a break. If those sentiments were expressed by a white person, he'd be labeled a racist, but when those sentiments are uttered by a black person or organization, liberals rush to embrace them in order to seem progressive and non-racist.
Let me be blunt. Telling multiracial people that they don't exist IS RACIST. Discriminating against white couples trying to adopt a black or biracial child IS RACIST. Creating arbitrary and generic "cultural competency" tests IS RACIST. Classifying people for the sole purpose of discriminating against them IS RACIST. Seems to me that the primary mission of the National Association of Black Social Workers isn't social work – it's racial separatism. People like Johnny White have no idea what the child welfare system is about. He, along with his white racist liberal counterparts think it's about cultural competency tests, "Brave New World"-like conformity and making sure that multiracials identify as black. I know what it's really about. It's about finding loving homes for children who are sick of being shuttled from foster home to foster home, some good, some bad, but none permanent. Simply put, IT'S ABOUT THE CHILDREN, STUPID!
James Landrith is the notorious editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist and The Abolitionist Examiner, two cyber-rags dedicated to freedom from oppressive racial categorization. Landrith can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at his personal website/blog.